A performance installation of dance, music, animation, and ritual that takes you on a mythical journey woven through the Grandy Lobby and YBCA Forum spaces—where continents, seas, internal landscapes, ancestral legacies, and a woman’s earthly journey intertwine.
Mago, the creator goddess in ancient Korean mythology, is central to the practice of Korean shamanism. The legend of Mago, on which this piece is based, is both a cleansing/purging ritual and an intensely personal journey of birth, self-discovery, confrontation, action, and re-birth.
MAGO blends traditional Korean arts and shamanism in a modern context. Through her intensive practice and application of ritual, Lee embodies content that is at once ancient and spiritual, and pushing the boundaries of modern performance. MAGO also references the current political/environmental crisis in Lee’s hometown of Jeju Island as a universal symbol of the trans-generational trauma that underlies our collective family and home history.
The piece also pays homage to the memory of ocean divers (Haenyo: “sea women”). The free-diving haenyo plunge to depths of twenty meters to harvest seafood and provide sustenance for their families. The tradition lives on today but is threatened by the construction of an U.S. naval base on sacred land. Ocean symbolism is threaded throughout the piece as the ocean is the dwelling place of Mago, and is omnipresent in the lives of the residents of Jeju Island, Korea.
The development of MAGO included a two-year residency with Yerba Buena Center for the Arts in San Francisco, presenting a series of site-specific seasonal rituals in and around the YBCA complex.